THE FRIDAY NOTE: India preps for offshore wind lease and more top news
Featured image by m.prinke. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.
In the first weeks of October it was announced that India will launch tenders for offshore wind leases in early 2016, BNEF said onshore wind is now cheaper than gas and coal in key EU markets, and SunEdison changed its growth strategy.
Other hot topics included Progression’s 400-MW offshore wind farm proposal for Hawaii, SolarCity’s 22.04%-efficient solar module, and UK solar installation company Mark Group’s collapse into administration.
OFFSHORE WIND EVERYWHERE
The Indian government will launch tenders for offshore wind leases in “three months time”, an official announced early this week. The number of zones up for grabs is yet to be determined, as they need the Defence Ministry’s nod and other approvals.
In Hawaii, a company formed by Progression Energy and investors is preparing to submit a lease application for a 400-MW wind project in waters off Hawaii. Investment in the scheme is estimated at some USD 1.6 billion (EUR 1.4bn).
Meanwhile in Denmark, eight parties have applied to join the tender for the country’s largest wind farm -- the 600-MW Kriegers Flak project in the Baltic Sea. The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) said last week this is the largest number of applicants for a wind tender in Denmark’s history.
A new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows that the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of onshore wind is now lower than that of gas and coal power in the UK and Germany. The LCOE for onshore wind has declined to USD 83.00 per MWh in the second half of the year, while that for crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) parks has gone down to USD 122.00/MWh.
Another report by the clean energy research company says that USD 197.9 billion have been invested in renewables and energy-smart technologies globally in the first nine months of the year. This is just USD 4.3 billion less than the same period of 2014, “a resilient performance given the sizeable shifts in foreign exchange rates that will have reduced the dollar value of projects outside the US,” commented Michael Liebreich, chairman of the BNEF advisory board.
In July-September 2015 the largest projects to be financed included solar thermal power, or CSP, plants in China, Israel and South Africa, and four offshore wind farms in China.
US renewable energy major SunEdison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) is reducing 15% of its workforce, trimming its 2016 installation forecast and changing its yieldco-oriented behaviour. It is also narrowing its geographic scope, in order to focus only on “high profit-potential markets”. It was reported this week that the planned acquisition of Latin American Power (LAP) has fallen through and it is yet unclear whose fault it is.
Another company owned by SunEdison, for just a couple of months in fact, is in trouble in the UK. Energy efficiency and solar installation firm Mark Group was placed into administration on Wednesday with the loss of 939 jobs. The UK government's recent policy changes have made the firm’s turnaround plan, which focused on solar, unviable.
On a more positive note, Canada-based company SkyPower Global keeps announcing large solar projects in emerging markets. On Tuesday, for one, it said it plans to build a 500-MW solar plant in Panama for a total cost of USD 1 billion. The project includes establishing a solar and environmental research centre.
Last week, the company also announced plans to develop 200 MW of solar PV projects in the Republic of Djibouti, and before that it said it would double its solar investments in Kenya to about USD 4 billion and will also pour USD 4.3 billion into Bangladesh’s solar power sector.
Last Friday SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) said it would start producing this month a solar panel with 22% efficiency. This will eventually be the highest volume panel manufactured in the Western Hemisphere, it said, as it plans to make it at the 1-GW-plus manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, currently under construction.
Several days later, Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp (TYO:6752) lauded an own record of 22.5% for a commercial-sized PV module prototype. It is yet to reach mass production.